Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Real MVP of Sports: Dr. James Andrews

Before Brett Favre made his third return from retirement this week, he had to consult with a very significant person. No, not his wife Deanna, nor his children, nor his coach Brad Childress, not even his Viking teammates. The 40-year-old indestructible gunslinger needed the blessing of one of the most influential men in sports, 68-year-old orthopedic surgeon of the athlete superstars, Dr. James Andrews.

The renowned doctor started off in Alabama in the early ‘70s and after successfully operating on Roger Clemens’s torn labrum in the early ‘80s, both careers took off. On his way to 40,000 lifetime surgeries, including 2,500 Tommy John operations alone, Dr. Andrews has treated Bo Jackson’s broken hip, Michael Jordan’s shoulder and Peyton Manning’s knee. Similarly to Clemens, in 1991 Troy Aikman’s career began after going under Andrews’s skillful knife. More recently, the Saints should give the surgeon an honorary Super Bowl ring after repairing Drew Brees’s shoulder before he signed with New Orleans.

Even this month, if you search his name under Google news, 1,000 article hits come up noting his procedures. Speaking of Google hits, in a testament to his influence, if you just Google his name, he gets 7.3 million hits, compared to 208k and 390k for the super-agents for his clients, Scott Boras and Tom Condon, as well as only 700k or less for three of the four commissioners of the sports he repairs. So next time your starting quarterback tears his ACL or ace pitcher blows out a shoulder, the following day you better hope to hear the familiar name of the man behind the curtain.

Further reading:

Much longer bio pieces from ESPN and FastCompany.

Slideshows of a team of future MLB Hall of Famers made up of his recovered players and twelve star QB patients.

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